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Department of Chemical Engineering

School of Engineering and Architecture
Saint Louis University

Group No. 9 Signature

Names of Students: ________________________________
Michelle Marzan ________________________________
Judith Mercado ________________________________
Vhal Marquez ________________________________
Frederique Moralejo

I. Determination of Viscosity of a Liquid using the Ostwald Viscometer

II. Background of the Study
Viscosity is a molecular property. The coefficient of viscosity (η) is
the proportionality constant between the force that causes a laminar flow and
the velocity gradient of the flow, (dv/dr), over an area, A, that is parallel to the
direction of the flow. The relationship is defined by Newton’s law:
Equation 3-1

Flows that obey this law are called Newtonian flows.

It is visualizes that a liquid that flows in a capillary tube is made up of
concentric layers, each of which has finite velocity. Near the walls of the
capillary the first layer can be considered to be stationary with zero velocity.
Each adjacent layer has a greater velocity as we proceed from fro the wall
toward the center of the capillary. In Newtonian flow the greatest velocity is at
the center.
Empirically, it has been found out that for Reynolds number that is
less than about 2100 the flow is laminar. Thus measurements of viscosity are
made therefore at low Reynolds number. It is observed that an equation
governs the flow only for small diameter tubes and flow rates. A suitable and
often used apparatus for many ordinary liquids is the Ostwald Viscometer.
In the Ostwald Viscometer the efflux time of a certain volume of a
liquid is observed, and b y using Poiseuille’s equation the viscosity coefficient
of the liquid can be evaluated.
Equation 3-2
The efflux time (t), the time required for the amount of liquid to hold
between points a and b. The parameters include η, the viscosity coefficient, P,
the pressure acting on the capillary, L, the length of the capillary, V, the
volume of the liquid, R, the radius of the capillary and t, the efflux time.
Since it is difficult to measure accurately the radius of the capillary
tube, unless it is supplied by the manufacturer, the best way to determine the
coefficient of viscosity of liquids is to compare the efflux time of the liquid
having a known viscosity coefficient to that of the liquid which it is unknown.
Equation 3-3

In this equation η is the viscosity coefficient, t is the efflux time, ρ is

the density of the liquid. The subscript 1 refers to the liquid with a known
viscosity and 2 the liquid under experimentation. It is a practice that the
viscosity of a sample is obtained by comparison to a standard reference
The experiment was conducted to determine the coefficient viscosities
of different sample liquids. The sample liquids include Chloroform, Methanol,
benzene and an Unknown Liquid.
The measurement of viscosity is a significant importance in both the
industry and the academia. Accurate knowledge of viscosity is necessary for
various industrial processes and estimation of viscosity must be verified using
experimental data and an instrument to measure viscosity is the Capillary
Viscometer. Capillary viscometer which includes the Ostwald Viscometer is
widely used for measuring viscosity of Newtonian liquids. They are simple in
operation; requires a small volume of the sample liquid, temperature is
controlled, the instrument itself is inexpensive. The volumetric flow of the
liquid flowing through the fine bore is measured usually by noting the time
required for the liquid to pass through the gradation marks.
Ostwald viscometer can cause a significant error in the measurement if
the viscometer is not in vertical alignment. It follows that 1 degree deviation
from the vetical axis will introduce a 1% error in the hydrostatic head. An
other source of error os the requirement to use an exact volume of liqiud for
the reference liqiud and the test liquid. This requirements creates a problem
when measurements are made at dofferent temperatues.

Design and Methods

A.Determination of time for liquid flow
The Ostwald Viscometer with its capillary was thoroughly cleaned
with Hydrochloric acid solution. The acid was pumped up and down the
Viscometer with the aid of the pumping system. The Viscometer was washed
with distilled water after the cleansing with the Hydrochloric acid. The
apparatus was dried with a blower. The dried
Viscometer was allowed to be filled with the liquid and the flow time was
determined. The rinsing liquid was thrown and pumped dry.
Five milliliters of benzene was placed in the apparatus using the
pipette. The liquid was drawn in to the bulb A until it reached above the mark
a. The pipetol was released to allow the complete flow of the liquid to the
capillary. Upon reaching the mark a, the stopwatch was started to note the
time of flow of the liquid to point b. As the liquid passed through point y, it
was drawn up again to have ten trials. The apparatus was cleaned with
Hydrochloric Acid, water and the next test substance which is methanol and
allowed to be dried. Following the benzene was the methanol. Five milliliters
of methanol was charged to the apparatus. The liquid drawn up the bulb A and
reached the mark a. The time was noted when the liquid reached mark a until
the mark b. Ten trials was made for methanol. Finishing the trials include the
washing of the apparatus with Hydrochloric Acid, water and few milliliters of
chloroform. The apparatus was dried carefully. Five milliliters of chloroform
was subjected to the Viscometer. The liquid reached the bulb A until few
centimeters above the mark a. The time was recorded from mark a to mark b
with ten trials. The Viscometer was cleaned with hydrochloric Acid, water
and the unknown liquid. The unknown liquid was placed to the apparatus
upon its immediate drying. The liquid was allowed to flow to reach he bulb A
and above the mark a. The time was recorded from mark a to mark b for ten

B. Determination of Liquid Density (Westphal Balance Method)

The Westphal Balance was calibrated to zero reading by the necessary
adjustments in the footscrew until the pointer is exactly horizontal to the
supporting beam. The cylinder was filled with methanol. The surface of the
liquid was about two to three centimeters from the rim. The plummet was
submerged in the cylinder and attached on the hook. The rider was calibrated
to balance the apparatus to the zero reading. The cylinder was cleaned and
placed with benzene. The Westphal Balance was adjusted so that the pointer is
in exactly horizontal with the pointer. The plummet was submerged in the
cylinder. The rider was balances until it pointed to the zero reading. After the
methanol was the chloroform. The cylinder was cleaned thoroughly and filled
with chloroform. The zero pointer was calibrated until it was leveled
horizontally with the supporting beam. The plummet was charged to the
cylinder. Necessary adjustments were made to have the density of the liquid.
The counterweight was removed for the liquid exceeded the 1 gram. The
density was recorded for chloroform. The cylinder was rinsed and filled with
the unknown reagent filled two to three centimeters to the brim. The Westphal
Balance was adjusted to have its reading level with the supporting beam. The
plummet was submerged in the cylinder. The rider was moved to have the
density of the unknown liquid.
The computations involved the determination of the test reagents such
as the benzene, chloroform, methanol and the unknown liquid on different
parameters. The average mean flow time was recorded. The average mean
flow time was determined by:

Equation 3-4
The t represents the time in seconds for the ten trials.
The densities were found with its respective temperature on the
experiment. The viscosity of the calibrating liquid which is benzene is
computed by the formula:
Equation 3-5
The parameters include the temperature of the benzene and ηcl as the viscosity
in Poise. The viscosities of the other liquids were determined using Equation
3-3. The true value was determined using the Perry’s Chemical Engineers’
Handbook and the percentage accuracy was computed as follows:
Equation 3-6
TV refers to true value and EV for experimental value.

III. Results and Interpretation of Data

This includes the data gathered in the Determination of Viscosities of
Liquids using the Ostwald Viscometer.

Table 3-1. The respective temperature reading of the reagents in

Test Reagent Temperature (°C)
Benzene 26
Chloroform 25
Methanol 26
Unknown Liquid 24

Table 3-2. The Average mean time of the reagents in the experiment.
Test Reagent Average Mean Time (seconds)
Benzene 57.45
Chloroform 31.92
Methanol 32.23
Unknown Liquid 40.29
The average mean time for the four test reagents was computed using
Equation 3-4.

Table 3-3. The densities of the liquid reagents obtained using the Westphal
Test Reagent Density (g/cm3)
Benzene 0.8706
Chloroform 1.4653
Methanol 0.7870
Unknown Liquid 0.8902

Table 3-4. The viscosities of the test reagents (EV)

Test Reagent Viscosity (Poise)
Benzene 0.005932724
Chloroform 0.005547979928
Methanol 0.00291535983
Unknown Liquid 0.003400229568
The following datum for benzene was calculated using Equation 3-5. The
resulting datum is in Poise. For the test liquid on chloroform to the unknown
liquid, the viscosity was determined using Equation 3-3. The subscript 1 refers to
the benzene as the calibrating liquid and the subscript 2 for chloroform, methanol
and unknown liquid in individual computations respectively.
Table 3-5. The true value of the test reagents obtained from the Perry’s
Chemical Engineers’ Handbook.
Test Reagent TV(in Poise)
Benzene 0.007243179994
Chloroform .009639799401
Methanol 0.0003170329
Unknown Liquid
The table reveals the data on the true value of the different test reagents.
The data was obtained from the Perry’s Chemical Engineers’ handbook. The
viscosity is in Pascal-s. To convert to Poise, the interpolated value was divided by

Table 3-6. The percentage accuracy of the test reagents.

Test Reagents Percentage Accuracy (%)
Benzene 81.91
Chloroform 57.55
Methanol 9.31
Unknown Liquid
The following data were calculated using Equation 3-6.

IV. Conclusions and Recommendations

V. References
Frederick A. Bettelheim (1971). Experimental Physical Chemistry. W.B
Saunders Company, Philadelphia.
George H. Duffey (1962). Physical Chemistry. McGraw-Hill Book Company, New
Gordon M Barrow (1961). Physical Chemistry. McGraw-Hill Book Company, Mew